BRITS have been urged to guard against the flu as cases and hospitalizations surge again.
Rates remain highest in children aged five to 14, data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has revealed.
Parents have also been asked to protect their children from the virus.
It’s particularly important as the NHS says viral infections like the flu put you at higher risk of contracting Strep A bacteria.
Another five child deaths from Strep A were recorded yesterday, bringing the total to 24, with a total of 94 deaths across all age groups since September.
Guidelines state that Strep A infections are spread through close contact with an infected person.
The UKHSA weekly report puts the flu positivity rate in children aged five to 14 at 40.1 per cent.
Hospital admission rates and ICU admission rates have continued to rise over the past week.
Figures show that the main increase in admissions has been in adults over 85 years of age.
Most outbreaks continue to be in care homes, with 54 influenza outbreaks confirmed in England in the week to December 18.
dr Susan Hopkins, UKHSA’s Chief Medical Advisor, said: “Hospital admissions have increased dramatically in the past week for the over 75s, with admissions for children under the age of 5 remaining high. ICU admissions have also increased this week.
“NHS services are already under pressure so it’s more important than ever to protect yourself with the flu vaccine and protect yourself from hospitalisation.
“Most children aged 2 and 3 can get a nasal spray flu vaccine through their GP practice. If you are pregnant or in a clinical risk group, you are also at greater risk, so it is all the more important that you take up the offer.
“Anyone over 50 can get a free flu or Covid-19 booster vaccine which can be booked online at nhs.uk/wintervaccinations.”
She added that we can take all measures to stop the spread of flu and other infections.
The 12 signs of the flu you need to know
When it comes to flu symptoms, they can seem like a common cold at first.
The NHS lists the symptoms for flu as follows:
- sudden high temperature
- aching body
- feeling tired or exhausted
- a dry cough
- Sore throat
- difficult sleeping
- loss of appetite
- diarrhea or abdominal pain
- feel sick or be sick
- less active (especially children)
- Pain in the ear (especially children)
“If you are unwell, try to stay at home and if you must go out, wear a face covering indoors. Wash your hands regularly and try to ventilate the rooms well.”
The UKHSA’s warning comes after data from the NHS revealed hospital cases of the bug have doubled in two weeks.
Hospital wards in England now have 2,515 infected patients, including 186 in intensive care.
It’s more than double the 1,218 patients two weeks ago, on December 8, and a 70 percent increase in one week.
In comparison, Covid patients occupy 8,643 beds and 174 in intensive care.
But the coronavirus is increasing at a slower pace, with cases increasing by 57 percent in two weeks compared to 106 percent for the flu.
The UK is currently plagued by common bugs that have not been circulated in years due to lockdowns.
Cases of scarlet fever in children caused by the Strep A bacterium are through the roof.
And experts have warned of a flu-like “super cold” that millions are struggling with.
Pressure from the winter twindemic virus is clogging hospitals and contributing to delays in ambulances and emergency rooms.
Waiting times were already at record highs, even before winter pressures and strikes mounted.
Professor Sir Stephen Powis, Medical Director of the NHS, said: “As well as the impact of industrial action, it is clear that the NHS is under tremendous pressure ahead of Christmas, with the number of flu cases in hospitals and intensive care units rising week-on-week .
“This comes on top of a significant increase in employee sick leave and near record-breaking demand for services like 111.
“With further industrial action planned for next week, there will be disruption, but we urge the public to continue to use the services wisely.”
https://www.the-sun.com/health/6977442/urgent-warning-flu-hospitalisations-increase-dramatically/ Urgent warning as number of Brits in hospital with flu ‘increases dramatically’ – the 12 signs you must know